ALL ABOARD THE POLAR EXPRESS

Children’s Immersion Experience of famous book announced

The Children’s Illustrated Art Museum, a nonprofit organization established in 2006 and located within Chesterfield Mall, has an established reputation for creating some very creative experiences for children. All are designed to engage a child’s imagination and foster an appreciation for art and literature. Past displays, programs and collaborative experiences have been successfully launched with names like Mary Englebreit, Scholastic Books, and well known illustrators of children’s books such as Richard Bernal, David Shannon, Jon J. Muth, and R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame.

This holiday season, a new and ambitious masterpiece is being unveiled, sponsored, in part, by the City of Chesterfield. For the first time, CIAM is collaborating with the Arnold Community Theatre Troupe to produce an interactive holiday experience for children, primarily aged six to ten, and based on the beloved Polar Express book. “Children will actually walk through the pages of this book, and it will come alive for them with actors performing various parts and encouraging them to participate in the story itself. From the Polar Express conductor to the Hobo, to Santa Claus, children will be guided all along the way by the performers as they walk through the pages of the book,” says CIAM director, Jeanne Johnston.

While the Polar Express immersion experience is the focal point of these ticketed events, even more will be included to engage and entertain kids in an educational and fun way. An elaborate and magical Christmas Village train display has been designed by ardent Museum volunteers Darrell and Pat Reinwald of St. Peters. Village streets on three levels will feature cottages fully decorated for the season and the town’s own “Polar Express” type train will chug through the village. Every child participating will also receive a gift bag with holiday treats and the Polar Express’s iconic silver bell. “We want children to leave this experience with a continuing reminder to alway ‘believe’,” says Johnston.

“This is a total immersion play for children,” says Johnston. Parents and chaperones are invited to relax in our reception area while the kids experience this holiday treasure on their own. At the end of the play, we will have refreshments for them to enjoy together, Santa’s lap on which to sit, and a huge Christmas tree where they will receive their gifts.” Opportunities for photos will be staged at several points during the near 2-hour experience.

John Singer, Arnold Community Theatre Troupe board of officers member and director of the production committee, says the immersion experience is an opportunity for their organization to expand the reach of the performances that they traditionally deliver, such as the series of one act community-written plays that they recently performed at Veteran’s Memorial Theater. “We’re excited about performing in this event,” says Singer. “When Jeanne contacted us, we decided to accept the challenge that this concept provides, simply based on its creativity. Our board decided that these performances would take the place of the one major winter program we usually produce at ACTT. Several acting ensembles will train for the parts. In all, nearly 30 actors will take part in the 45 performance series scheduled over five weeks during the holidays. It’s a big endeavor for us,” he says.

Performances are scheduled to begin Fridays through Sundays beginning November 28th through December 28th. Immersion experiences are limited to 20 children each performance so call (phone number) now to reserve tickets ($20) for your preferred date. Friday performances will be at 4PM and 6PM. Saturday and Sunday performances will be held at 1PM, 4PM and 6PM. Chesterfield Mall is located at (address) and the 10,000+ square foot Museum is located on the 2nd floor of the Mall between Sears and Macy’s. Children’s Illustrated Art Museum and the Arnold Community Theatre Troupe are Missouri 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Each exists through the generosity of volunteers, donors and grants.

 

Last Updated (Monday, 17 November 2014 15:34)